Negro Baseball Leagues
Negro Baseball Leagues have contributed to the history of America by integrating African Americans and Whites and having a baseball league just for African Americans. The first ever Negro League was the Negro National League created by Rube Foster. The league was composed of six teams in the beginning then eight teams towards the end, most of the teams that were in the Negro National League were from cities that have a higher population of African Americans. The league was a huge success from the very beginning but it slowly started to die out due to financial problems. A couple of years later the Negro National League had a opponent called the Eastern Colored League it was created by a white man his name was Nat Strong. The league consisted of six teams, four of which were white-owned. Neither of the leagues got along, players would raid each others busses. The leagues met and had a truce. Negro Baseball Leagues have contributed to the history of America by integrating African Americans and Whites and having a baseball league just for African Americans
Before the color line was drawn in baseball. There was a time before the early 1880’s when African Americans and Whites played baseball together. They did not play in harmony though. Many African Americans players faced abuse from their own white teams to the fans. Some of the things that the white baseball players would do is pitchers throw balls at African Americans heads and other white ballplayers would chuck the ball at them. Another thing that white baseball players did to the African Americans was spiking them in the baseball path or stepping on their ankle when African Americans were playing first, second baseman etc. Most African Americans did not let the name calling or the abuse get to them, all they wanted to do was just play baseball. Some African Americans started wearing shin guards at the game so they would not get hurt as bad. The reason why White baseball players treated the African Americans so badly is because they feared that people would stop enjoying baseball, so the sales for the games would go down which will lead to them having their salaries lowered. The International League team owners started to stop signing African Americans on their teams due to the White Players thoughts on African Americans being there. That is when the color line for baseball was drawn. (They were nice enough to let the African Americans who were already on a White team stay on that team until they retired or cracked from all the abuse).
Before the color line was drawn there were some amazing African American baseball players. Many whites thought that African Americans could never be good at baseball, but they were in for a rude awakening. One amazing baseball player was John W. Jackson (AKA Bud Flower), he was one of the best second basemen in the Major Leagues. Jackson is believed to be the first African American to join a White team in the 1890’s. The team Jackson played for was a team located in Pennsylvania. Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first African American baseball player to ever join the Major leagues before the color line was drawn. (Of course, though Jackie Robinson was the first African American to join a major league baseball team after integration). Walker was best known for being the barehanded pitcher. Walker was the first African American to join the Major Leagues by his team joining the American Association. George Stovey was the first best African American pitcher that was ever documented. Stovey even played for some white teams as their pitcher and that was not very heard of at that time. Stovey was one of the most accomplished African American players. The color line was then drawn a few years later.
The first Negro League that was created was called the Negro National League and it was created by Andrew “”Rube”” Foster. Mr. Foster is called the father of African American Baseball. Rube was a star pitcher before he decided to start the Negro National League. The Negro National League was formed in the 1920’s and it consisted of eight African American teams. Rube’s goal for the League was for it, in the end, lead to integration. (Having Whites and African Americans play together again in Baseball). The biggest events that every African American baseball player looked forward to was the Negro League World Series and All-Star “”East-West”” Game. The first ever Negro League World Series was in 1924 against the Kansas City Monarchs and the Hilldale Club. Being an African American baseball player did sometimes have its moments. African Americans did not play in good conditions, they played in stadiums that had them pay high rent even if they were only playing one game there and they for most nights had to sleep on the bus, which is not the most comfortable place to sleep in the world. Some teams even had to drive all night just to get to their next game for the next day. The Negro National League did not last forever though, the Negro National League went belly up in 1931 due to bankruptcy. The Negro National League went bankrupt because they could not make enough money. The NNL would get money from the sales of the tickets for the games and that’s really the only way they made money. The NNL then had to split the money to the teams in the league so they could play their players and the NNL also had to pay for the high rents for the African Americans to play in a White stadium.
Negro Baseball Leagues and the Major Leagues finally started to integrate. The baseball experts and managers started to realize the talent that African Americans had in baseball. The move for integration started with activist writers. Many White journalist started to write about African American baseball players and all of their accomplishments. Many African Americans were surprised that White writers were writing about them. “”Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis……, disingenuously maintained that there was no rule against blacks in organized baseball. He was long criticized as an ardent foe of integration,”” (Rogosin, Donn 7/14). Integration was mainly blocked by the team owners. Many owners and managers of teams worried that fans would lose interest in the major leagues and that the white players would treat them badly. This is what the team owners and managers were worried about before the color line was drawn. The president of the Brooklyn Dodgers said that integration would kill off the Negro Leagues, which would cause the closing of some parks because the parks relied on the Negro Leagues rent that they paid. In 1945 the first step toward integration had begun.
Branch Rickey was the one who took this step, he secretly looked at Negro League teams and he told everyone that he was going to start a Brooklyn Dodgers Negro League but that was a lie. Rickey was looking for an African American player to be put on the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey knew that the first African American to be on a major league team needed to be able to play good even when under pressure. Rickey chooses Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs who was an amazing player. After Jackie Robinson’s first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie was followed by Larry Doby who started playing for the Cleveland Indians. The integrating of African Americans into the major leagues was the start of Negro Baseball Leagues starting to end. The last ever Negro World Series ever to be played was in 1949. (Between Birmingham Blacks Barons and the Homestead Grays). The Negro National League ended in 1950, even though the Negro National League ended African American teams continued to play. Integration slowly started to continue throughout Major League baseball.
In conclusion, Negro Baseball Leagues have changed America by changing America’s pastime, integrating Whites and African Americans together.